Lemon Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars
The bright, lemon flavor of these creamy Lemon Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars will put a smile on your face! An easy dessert for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any spring occasion!
Can you believe that yesterday was the first day of spring? This is the time of year where we have a mix of warm, sunny days and cooler cloudy ones with a few rain showers here and there. It’s the best of both worlds, as we don’t get tired of either endless hot or endless freezing temperatures.
As the weather warms up and summer approaches, I think many of us have a renewed energy to put towards healthy habits. January and February are hard months, as the excitement of New Year’s goals wears off quickly (at least for me!) and summer seems so far off. Once March and April hit, though, goals seem more doable again.
It’s easier to get outside for a walk or a run, we may want to do a little spring cleaning and organization, and healthier eating habits replace our cravings for winter comfort foods.
What are you working on right now? I’m trying to fit more movement into my busy days, as well as reach for healthy snacks when I get hungry throughout the day. Planning ahead is key.
I still treat myself to dessert every once in a while, and when I do I try to make it a healthier version. We all need a little sweetness in our lives, right? 😉 With Easter coming up soon, I thought you might need an easy, spring-y dessert recipe.
Have you tried Greek yogurt cheesecake? If you haven’t, I think you’re gonna LOVE it. This recipe has zero cream cheese – that creamy cheesecake layer is all thanks to Greek yogurt. It’s light, tangy, and will completely satisfy your cheesecake cravings! I also have a fantastically easy Instant Pot Cheesecake for you try if you looking for a classic cheesecake.
I’ve made Greek yogurt cheesecake before when I made these pumpkin cheesecake bars, as well as a Greek yogurt cheesecake tart. Those recipes are some of my very favorites, but I have to say these Lemon Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars with a shortbread crust are my new favorite of the bunch. These lemon bars and lemon almond flour shortbread cookies are two other favorite lemon recipes.
These Greek yogurt cheesecake bars are just bursting with bright lemon flavor. I made mine with Meyer lemons… yum! I like to serve these with a few fresh berries on top. They are so pretty with the berries and make a lovely lighter dessert for any spring occasion!
What healthy habits are you working on at the moment? Trying to fit more exercise into your day? Working on eating more fruits and vegetables? Trying to avoid processed, packaged foods? Starting the day with a healthy breakfast? I’d love to know what kinds of recipes and posts can help you to meet your goals!
Lemon Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars
For the Shortbread Crust:
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour, or all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 small lemon
- 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon cold milk
For the Cheesecake:
- 3 cups full fat Greek yogurt, 2% will work but we prefer these with the full-fat yogurt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- heaping tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, you will need 2-3 medium lemons for zest and juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- fresh berries, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper so that you have a parchment overhang on two opposite sides.
Make the Shortbread Crust:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add in the butter cubes and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 more minutes, until pieces of butter are the size of very small peas. Turn mixer off, add the milk, and mix on medium-low speed until the dough holds together when you press it with your fingers, 1-2 minutes more. It will still look a bit crumbly.
- Transfer dough to prepared pan and use your fingers to press the dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Bake crust for about 15 minutes, until barely golden. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
Make the Greek Yogurt Cheesecake:
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Wash out the mixer bowl and return it to the stand mixer. Place Greek yogurt, sugar, and cornstarch in the mixer bowl and mix until well combined. Add in eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of baked crust and spread into an even layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cheesecake is just set.
- Let cheesecake cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
- When ready to serve, use the parchment overhang to carefully remove the bars from the pan. Slice into 12 bars, top with fresh berries, and serve. Cheesecake bars will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
I’m so glad that spring is finally here! The winter hasn’t been too bad, but I’m ready for warmer weather. These cheesecake bars look gorgeous, Kristine! I love the Greek yogurt in here…such a great staple for baking!
I’m ready for short sleeves and sandals! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words!
These cheesecake bars are gorgeous! Love the idea of using Greek yogurt to make the bars a little healthier. Really like the yummy tangy lemon flavour and the shortbread base. These are the perfect dessert for Easter and spring. 🙂
Thank you, Jess! The tangy Greek yogurt and lemon go perfectly together!
I have only tried a combination of Greek yogurt and cream cheese in cheesecake, so I can’t wait to try this! Greek yogurt is so tangy and creamy it has to be delicious, and I’m in love with lemon desserts right now! These are so pretty, too. 🙂
I’ve tried the cream cheese/Greek yogurt combo too and actually prefer the yogurt alone! I think you’d love these, Marcie!
I can’t wait to try this recipe! It sounds so refreshing and delicious. I love that it’s a bit better for me, too.
Thank you, Jenna! I could never give up sweets, so I try to make them a bit healthier when I can. 🙂
These cheesecake bars look super yummy! I love subbing greek yogurt for cream cheese, its the perfect alternative! These bars are perfect for Easter!
Thank you, Bethany! We go through a lot of Greek yogurt around here. 🙂
Thes lemon Greek yogurt bars look so delicious- that tart flavor is to die for 🙂 Pinning!
Lemon is THE best! Thanks, Medha!
We’re obviously thinking along the same (delicious) lines these days! I shared the lemon cookies today and you share this AMAZING lightened-up lemon cheesecake. I kind of just want to face plant into it! Hah! It’s practically health food, right?!
I was thinking the same thing when I saw your cookies this afternoon! Gotta love the lemon sweets!
I absolutely LOVE lemon desserts and this one looks incredible! Definitely pinning it!
What?!?! How have I never done this before? I love lemon and cheesecake and I definitely need to try these!
These sound so good! I love lemon desserts in the warmer months!
Hasn’t the weather been gorgeous this week? Love all the sunshine. When it’s warm and sunny like this, the first thing I crave are lemony desserts. These cheesecake bars will be perfect!
These bars look fabulous! I totally crave lemon desserts this time of year. Love that you used Greek yogurt!
What would be the difference between using fat free greek yogurt and regular greek yogurt?
The texture of these will not be as good with fat free yogurt. I would use 2% if you don’t want to use the full fat version. Enjoy!
We made these exactly to the recipe. It didn’t solidify in the oven, always stayed nearly fluid when we checked for ‘set’. It would be helpful to know if they’re supposed to harden in the oven or if we’re supposed to remove them soft; the instructions are ambiguous.
I’m sorry to hear these did not work out for you. We have always had good success with these cheesecake bars. By “just set,” the recipe means that you should remove these bars from the oven when they jiggle just the slightest bit in the center. They should be solid, not liquid at that point.
Thanks Kristen for this recipe, cheesecakes are my guilty pleasures but I don’t tolerate cheese very well so this is a welcome change for me. By the way I am in Jamaica in the Tropics!
How fun to hear that you are reading from Jamaica! These cheesecake bars are one of my favorite recipes. I’m so glad to hear that you are excited to try them! Thanks for reading. 🙂
Hi Kristine, I cannot afford an electric mixer because mine broke. Can I still make this recipe with some elbow grease by just mixing by hand? Or would the consistency be less smooth? I’d love to know, this seems like a great recipe 🙂 thank you!
If your cream cheese was softened enough I think you could mix this up by hand. For the crust, you could cut the butter into the shortbread crust with a pastry cutter, or make a graham cracker crust. Let me know if you try them!
Up until I found this recipe, I hadn’t had cheesecake in over 10 years because it always made me feel so ill. I struggle with lactose intolerance, and I’ve happily found that my body can tolerate greek yogurt. I have always been a fan of graham cracker crusts, so I used a recipe for that plus this recipe’s cheesecake part. The two times I have made this combination have been mind-blowingly delicious to me. I can’t speak for people who regularly eat more typical cheesecake recipes, but this gets a hearty seal of approval from me. Thank you SO much for sharing!
I will add that when I have made this, I couldn’t find full fat yogurt, so I used the highest fat yogurt I could find (which was Fage 2%). Also, like another commenter above mentioned, my cook time was longer. Mine took at least 50 minutes before I saw the inside part reach a consistency where the center only slightly jiggled. Thanks again for posting this recipe!
Yay! I’m so happy to hear that these cheesecake bars were a hit! This is one of my favorite recipes and I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Made this yesterday but had to wait overnight to set and, had to taste this morning. It was fabulous Kristine! I learned a lot about Meyer lemons too. Next time I have a piece, I won’t be in such a hurry and I’ll cut up some fruit for the top.
I’m so happy you liked it! Meyer lemons are the best!
I am in the UK and don’t have American measurement cups. How much is the 3 cups of yoghurt in grams or ounces? Thanks. Tara
The full fat Greek yogurt that I use is 170 grams per 3/4 cup, so that would mean for 3 cups of yogurt you would need 680 grams. Be sure to use Greek yogurt, which is strained to be much thicker than regular yogurt.
Using an 8×8 pan meant mine were super thick. Is a 9×9 better? Just curious. My bake time was longer too because they’re so thick
If you found the bars too thick for your liking in the 8×8-inch pan, then you could try a 9×9-inch pan.
Can I use flaxseed instead of eggs in this recipe?
Thank you. It looks delicious!
Hi Muriel, Unfortunately, I don’t think flaxseeds will work as a sub for eggs in this recipe. They won’t bind the bars together as well as eggs.
Flaxseed works !